Just because the long, hot summer days are finished for the year doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. Autumn is a great time to get outside and explore the countryside, and what better way to enjoy the colourful foliage than with a glass of wine in hand? While visiting your favourite wineries in person is always a good idea, sometimes the best way to experience a region’s wine is to go on a tasting tour.
Wineries all across Canada offer year-round tours and tastings, so take advantage of the crisp air and falling leaves while sipping some of the country’s finest vintages. It’s a great way to learn more about the history, community, and process, while also expanding your palette. Wine tasting is also a great excuse to try some fresh cheese and other local gourmet delights. Fall wine tours are relaxing, educational, and a great way to enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the season.
Niagara is the best-known wine region in Canada, growing more than 30 grape varieties at over 60 wineries, and is responsible for the majority of Canada’s wine. With Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls right next door, this is a prime tourist destination. The Niagara Peninsula is a great place to taste some gourmet food, stay in a charming inn, shop for antiques, and experience some theatre.
At Niagara Vintage Wine Tours, you can choose between half-day, culinary, evening, private, lunch tours, and more. Sit back and relax while your guide teaches you all about the local wine scene and introduces new flavours, while your driver gets you safely and comfortably to each new vineyard. Don’t forget to try the famous Niagara Ice Wine. After your tour spend a day shopping at Niagara-on-the-lake, or go for a ride on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls.
Prince Edward County
This is a great alternative to the Niagara region if you are looking to avoid the crowds. Prince Edward County is about three hours outside of Toronto and is a relative newcomer to the Canadian wine scene. With over 45 wineries, it is also the fastest growing region in the country and offers a variety of tours and attractions for all degrees of aficionados.
PEC Wine Tours has everything from laid back half-day tours, to luxury tours with personalized itineraries. You can even stay overnight and enjoy meals and accommodations as well as your wine tour. If you have particular tastes, the tour stops can be designed to your preferences, or be used as an introduction to the local vineyards. After enjoying a day of wine tasting, relax on the white sand dunes at Sandbanks Provincial Park, shop in the local boutiques, visit a farmer’s market, or take a boat cruise through the Thousand Islands.
Quebec is home to the ‘Wine Route,” a circuit that leads the adventurous taster across 140-km to 22 wineries. Brome-Missisquoi is known to produce excellent ice wine, along with some exceptional red and white vintages. It’s also a great place for the outdoor enthusiast; you can hike, bike, and golf your way around your glass of wine. History buffs will also appreciate this tour, stopping at the two oldest vineyards in Quebec to learn how each winemaker perfected the craft over the years.
Being the third largest wine region in Canada, Quebec offers many opportunities to taste some homegrown reds and whites. You can tackle the entire tour on your own, or take it easy and join a tour. If you’re looking for the complete package, try La Route Des Vins. If you’re looking for something a little more basic, Kava Tours offers transportation, a guide, and food and wine tasting at a few of the local vineyards.
This is a beautiful spot to enjoy the autumn foliage and a view of the ocean at the same time. Vancouver Island is a great place for a weekend getaway, with a relaxed atmosphere and informal setting, perfect for sitting back and raising a glass. Many wineries offer tasty treats or picnic areas, further adding to the unique experience.
With more than 24 wineries, there are plenty of tour options on the island. Vancouver Island Wine Tours offers full day and afternoon tours, depending on what you feel like. Thanks to the milder winters, the island has a climate similar to that of Northern France, allowing the vineyards to grow traditional European grapes, but each winemaker adds their own unique spin. And don’t forget to try the famous blackberry dessert wine!
Stretching across 250km, Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s primary wine region. Thanks to its distinct sub-regions, the area also has a variety of soils and growing conditions, allowing for a more rounded palette of wine options. With over 170 licensed wineries to keep you busy—including the oldest in Kelowna, BC— you’ll need to plan some time to actually enjoy the scenery. The valley has everything from desert to lakefront beaches to mountainous hillsides, so don’t forget your camera; there will be photo opportunities at every corner.
For a fun wine tasting experience all year round, try Uncorked! for a variety of tour options, regions, and special events. The tours include the must-see wineries, as well as the boutique wineries that make Okanagan so popular. You can customize, privatize, and ask as many questions as you want, the guides are there to show you a good time.
Annapolis Valley is home to some distinctive wine varieties, thanks to the harsher climate (Nova Scotia is one of the world’s coldest grape growing regions) and soil conditions. Best known for white wines, Nova Scotia has won awards for their L’Acadie Blanc, a sparkling wine that has been compared to Champagne. The risk of growing in Nova Scotia only makes the wine taste better; they have worked hard and earned their international success.
Celebrate the burgeoning wine in Annapolis Valley by taking a tour with Grape Escapes. You can build your own tour, or choose from a variety of afternoon, lunch, or dinner tour options, all of which offer a taste of local cheese and other Nova Scotia delicacies. After you’ve tasted all the wine you desire, make sure you visit the Bay of Fundy—one of the seven wonders of North America—boasting the world’s highest tides. Or better yet, visit the bay before your wine tasting commences, so you can sit back and reflect on a day well spent!
Keep the memories alive! Drinking wine can make things a little foggy. Don’t forget to pack your point-and-shoot camera to snap shots of the gorgeous winery grounds and the special moments with your friends and loved ones. We recommend the slim and easy to use PowerShot ELPH 160. Check out CanonFeatures.ca for other great camera options and gear to take your exciting wine tour to the next level—we’re certain your experience will be one you won’t want to forget.
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